Despite the looming concerns over the delays in the COVID vaccine rollout program in Australia Qantas is firm in its plan to reboot international operations on October 31, 2021.
Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce reiterated that passenger vaccination is the deciding prerequisite to reinstitute the airline’s long-haul international flights, expressing the airline’s focus on the wellbeing of its customer by putting “safety ahead of popularity”.
However, statements made on April 12, 2021, by Prime Minister Scott Morrison have raised concerns about the airline’s successful international reboot.
In pointing out the uncertainties ahead over safety concerns of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine, the Prime Minister went on to state the unlikely probability of full vaccination of the Australian population, playing down a previous pledge to vaccinate the entire population by the end of 2021. “The government has also not set, nor has any plans to set, any new targets for completing first doses,” said PM Morrison. “We will just get on with the job of working together to produce, distribute and administer the vaccines as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Qantas followed with a statement that they are “closely monitoring the recent developments”. A Qantas spokeswoman reviewed the airline’s stance and said, “the government has not updated its timeline for the effective completion of the vaccine rollout and at this stage, there’s no change to the planned restart of our international flights.”
As the Australian government moves to prioritize the Pfizer vaccine for administration to the population’s age groups under 50, the airline stated its intent to continue dialogue with the government on the ongoing situation.